Parents shouldn't be denied right to legal recourse re COVID exposure in schools — PNP

Parents shouldn't be denied right to legal recourse re COVID exposure in schools — PNP

Monday, January 25, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— People's National Party (PNP) spokesperson on education and training, Dr Angela Brown Burke has expressed shock at reports that some schools are asking parents to sign waivers of indemnity regarding COVID-19 exposure without the direction or knowledge of the Ministry of Education.

“That schools are asking parents to sign any legal waiver without the knowledge of the ministry is surprising, but it is even more shocking that we are talking about waivers regarding potential risk to the health of our children,” Brown Burke said in a statement.

The spokesperson has called for greater consultations, in order that informed decisions can be made about the health and safety of students.

She said that the reopening of schools and the conditions under which they operate should be done in consultation with all stakeholders.

“School administrators, parents, the MOEYI and the MOH are among key players that must jointly determine the conditions under which these institutions operate,” she noted.

Brown Burke indicated that in order for these consultations to be effective, data regarding rates of local infection and variables used to decide the readiness of an institution for face-to-face engagement should be shared with stakeholders.

“In the sharing of such information everyone would be allowed to be engaged in monitoring the required conditions. It also provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to have a clear sense of their individual and shared responsibilities,” she said.

“In resetting education 2021, Jamaica needs an effective partnership that respects the roles and importance of all involved, giving them the best opportunity, guided by data, science, and a keen sense of the balance to be achieved between, on the one hand, the health of students and teachers and on the other hand, an effective teaching-learning process. To do otherwise is to place the full burden of protecting our children at school, on parents who are often the least informed and most vulnerable,” she added.

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